ANDER HERRERA'S stats show he should be Arsenal's first choice to replace Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey.
The Spaniard's contract with Manchester United expires this summer, meaning the Gunners could snap him up for free.
Recent games against United and Rennes showed exactly why Arsenal will solely miss their star.
Ramsey is a midfielder powerhouse, a rare talent delivering on both ends of the pitch.
His relentless runs against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ensured the Red Devils offered little threat to Bernd Leno's goal – and the German keeper could record his third clean sheet of the season.
But when Unai Emery's men had only 90 minutes to overturn a two-goal deficit in the Europa League, he was trying to launch his forwards from the start with aggressive passes against Rennes.
And Ramsey brilliantly set Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up for an early opener, showing off both world-class poise and awareness, turning with the ball in the box and then sending it past two defenders.
Herrera's stats show he is the kind of a box-to-box midfielder Arsenal are searching for as they prepare for life after the superb Welshman.
Despite playing just 1215 minutes in the Premier League, Herrera has scored two goals and added three assists for United this season.
The Spaniard provides an immense support to his defenders, recording 2.4 tackles per game and rarely giving the ball away – boasting an impressive 88.2 per cent pass completion.
Not to mention that, should he fail to agree a new contact with United, he will be available for free – something skint Arsenal will surely be hoping for.
Rambo replacement vital
Meanwhile, the Gunners' other transfer targets – Yannick Carrasco, Nico Barella and Franck Kessie – do not seem to offer the same versatility to fill the void left by Ramsey's departure.
Carrasco, 25, can surely pose a threat in the final third, having scored seven goals and adding five assists for Dalian Yifang in China last season.
However, the Belgium international is a winger, who is rarely entrusted with defensive duties and does not win the ball back for his team.
Meanwhile, Cagliari prodigy Barella's work-rate on his own half of the pitch is impressive – as he records almost three tackles per game this season.
But the midfielder, 19, prefers to stay behind instead of engaging in offensive plays – and is not the creative spark Ramsey can easily turn into if needed.
Kessie, 22, in fact has this sought-after goal-scoring aptitude – having bagged four times for AC Milan this season.
But he could not provide the back line with the same sort of support the Welshman does when Arsenal are playing against a team enjoying ball possession.
Not to mention, any of the trio would set the Gunners back at least £30m – while Arsenal will reportedly have only £40m in the bank if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season.
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